Just as fairy tales always have a Prince Charming and a happy ending, music videos tend to follow a stock list of tropes. It may seem pretty standard today, but let’s not forget that concepts seemed so fresh and new back in the day. Britney Spears‘ “…Baby One More Time” got millions of teens daydreaming about skipping class to dance in pigtail braids. Blink-182’s “What’s My Age Again” made us want to run around naked in public, and Backstreet Boys‘ “I’ll Never Break Your Heart” made it cool to sing about unrequited love in a futuristic hotel.
Now these tropes are old and tired after we’ve seen them in dozens of derivative videos. How many times are we going to see rappers pop bottles in the club? How many R&B singers will feel lonely and angry in an empty hotel room? The answer is: a lot. Let’s examine each overused music video cliche specifically, shall we?
Crazy House Party
House parties are a staple in music videos. Especially wild, destroy-everything-and-throw-shit-in-the-pool parties that start in the afternoon and end the following morning. Ke$ha woke up with an infamous bottle of Jack in “TiK ToK” and Meek Mill had neon spandex-wearing models twerking in “House Party.” But Katy Perry topped them all with an epic rager, including a cameo by Rebecca Black.
“Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)” by Katy Perry
In Da Club
Every ballin’ shot callin’ playa starts in a music video with gorgeous people, endless bottles of Cristal and a VIP area fit for a King or Queen. 50 Cent came through with “In Da Club,” Nelly stripped down in “Hot In Herre” and Jay Z did it up real classy to impress a video vixen in “Excuse Me Miss.”
“Excuse Me Miss” by Jay Z ft. Pharrell Williams
Acting As Different Characters
Videos are the perfect platform to allow musicians to show off their acting chops. Unsurprisingly, they usually take the “evil twin” route, like Mariah Carey in her “Heartbreaker” video. Watch Mimi kick her own ass (technically) in a kung fu fight scene.
“Heartbreaker” by Mariah Carey